Released just one year after the self-titled debut, 1979’s Candy-O is another batch of new wave tracks written by Ric Ocasek. Like it’s predecessor, Candy-O is produced by Roy Thomas Baker but this one also features memorable art work by pin-up artist Alberto Vargas as suggested by drummer David Robinson.
The band’s first top 20 hit appears with the first track “Let’s Go”. Destined to be one of their classic singles, bassist Benjamin Orr sings about a teenage girl with a budding interest in the nightlife, the simple keyboard line is punctuated by handclaps and a shouted “Let’s Go!” in the chorus. Second single “It’s All I Can Do” is an understated track that sounds similar to Tom Petty with a nice synth in the chorus. “Double Life” compares driving to life and relationships, it gets pumped up by the drums in the refrain. The title track is harder driving with keyboard squiggles throughout.
For most bands, it would have been nearly impossible following up a debut where virtually every track is now considered a classic. But here, The Cars do a fine job on an album that would peak at #3 on the Billboard albums chart. The singles are the more memorable tracks but songs such as “Since I Held You”, “Night Spots”, and “Lust for Kicks” are all solid. Candy-O is another fine example of 70s power pop from the band that still endures.